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Senate urges independent Metro inspector

metro logoWASHINGTON — Members of the Senate committee overseeing the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Administration said in a letter sent last week to WMATA CEO Paul Wiedefeld they are concerned the agency’s Office of Inspector General lacks the independence necessary to do its job properly.

“WMATA’s apparent control over the OIG appears to limit the OIG’s ability to act independently and may ultimately hinder effective oversight and transparency of the agency,” wrote Sens. Ron Johnson (R-Wisc.) and Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.), who serve as the Chairman and Ranking Member of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee. The senators’ letter came after WMATA Inspector General Geoffrey Cherrington informed them that the transit agency has implemented policies that have hampered his office’s independence.

Of particular concern to Johnson and McCaskill was the revelation that the WMATA OIG lacks its own IT department and its own computer systems. This, Cherrington noted, has allowed WMATA’s IT department to install keystroke logging software on OIG computers in the past, and could still allow WMATA’s IT administrators to keep tabs on current investigations.

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Metro official says new 7000 series railcars are not meeting Metro’s goals for reliability

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WASHINGTON –Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority’s chief operating officer said at a board committee meeting Thursday that Metro’s 7000 series railcars are not meeting Metro’s goals for railcar reliability.

Joe Leader, chief operating officer for Metro, described the Metro’s fleet critically.

"I would refer to it as poor and inconsistent,” said Leader regarding Metro fleet performance over time.

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Metro board unanimously approves service cuts to Metro schedule

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The Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority Board of Directors approved reducing Metro hours of service for one year to provide more time for repairs and maintenance Thursday.

Board member Michael Goldman said General Manager Paul Wiedefeld will determine whether he wants to extend the plan to a total of two years after one year with the new schedule.

“Optically, it’s easier for the District (board members) to swallow,” Goldman said.

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You Speak Up!

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Bulger expresses concerns for suit against Metro over proposed service cuts

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As the Metro board prepares to vote on a proposed service cut that could adversely change the experience on Metro for thousands of riders, a board committee member questions Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority’s analysis of equity in the proposal.

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'How many more people have to die?'

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Congress grills Metro managers on ills

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WASHINGTON – Members of Congress pointed fingers at witnesses called to testify about Metro’s SafeTrack program Friday, including a federal safety official, Metro’s board chairman and a Metro union representative.

"How many more people have to die before we get you to act?" Rep. Mark Meadows (R-N.C.) asked Federal Transit Administration Executive Director Matthew Welbes.

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USDOT secretary fires 3 Metro board members

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WASHINGTON — The U.S. Secretary of Transportation Thursday replaced three of four members of the Metro board of directors with individuals who have transportation safety backgrounds to increase the safety culture of Metro.

U.S. Department of Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx said, “No more excuses” to jurisdictions Maryland, Virginia and the District of Columbia, which he has been ordering to create a new state level safety oversight agency for Metro.

On Thursday, April 28, Foxx replaced three of the four board members representing the federal government with officials currently or previously involved in transportation safety. The reason for the replacement was to push the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority board of directors to pick up the pace to creating a new state-level safety oversight agency in Metro.

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